At the very end of the last season, the Landing Pad was finished, in the sense that there was a circular area with bark chips in which to sit. The problem was with the surrounding area. After a chilly start to this year and a late entrance for Spring, work on the borders around the Landing Pad finally started again in the traditional manner of getting the lawn edger out and marking the border edge. Then came the ordering of many bulk bags of compost, manure and top soil and subsequent carting all that material from the front, right the way through to the back with the help of the trusty green wheelbarrow, which is still going strong, though it does tend to list to the right.
I left a one-metre wide strip along the fence line where the large bamboo screen used to be, there’s a short wire fence and some brightly colours trugs there in the picture. The plan is to replant with beech (as bare root in winter), thereby continuing the hedge to the large birch by the shed. Running alongside this strip is a one-metre wide bark-chip path to allow access for hedge trimming. Then comes the border that wraps around the Landing Pad.
We have several tree trunks and large wooden branches that I thought could be put to good use by marking out path edges. I held these in place using short sections of bamboo as ground pins. I also eyed up the large pile of spare roofing tiles that the neighbours had in their garden and they kindly donate several stacks to be used as the edging between the border and the Landing Pad proper. This gave the Landing Pad a neat, crisp edge that will soon be hidden under a mass of green ferns (when eventually planted and established) but it’s the detail in the mean time that counts.
This is the first border that has proximity to some very large trees, whose thick roots run right underneath the Landing Pad and throughout the surrounding border. As such, it was not possible to use the tiller to dig down into the existing soil without doing some serious damage to both the tiller and the tree roots. To prepare the border soil here, we weeded the surface and the dumped the compost, top soil and manure mix on top. It was mixed altogether with the tiller but there was none of the digging down, mixing in, backfill and re-mix work that we did for the other borders. I used a fork in places to try and break up some of the compacted ground and the tiller would have scratched the surface, but the worms are going to have to do the work of incorporating the soil mix on top, with the clay underneath. This is essentially a “no dig” border and it will be interesting to see just how the soil behaves and mixes over time.
The shape of the border is a straight edge along the hedge line, a 90-degree corner and another straight edge to follow the rectangular area of grass. It then turns another corner and the shape curves to mirror the semi-circular border (that’s yet to be made).
This curve sweeps outward and then back in to join up with the shed that forms the fourth side of the border. In essence it’s a rough square with a wiggly bit. The entrances and exits to the border, the edges with the shed and Landing Pad, the odd corners, angles and slope make this border particularly fiddly to get right. It took some time to figure out how to best work each area but it’s these details that matter and ‘Part 3″ will have the “Grand Reveal”, showing the new border as ready to plant. It may take some time to start planting this border as the new soil mix is bone dry and it’s impractical to keep it watered. It needs to have a whole winter’s worth of rain to top it up and prime it ready for the new season. That gives me plenty of time to look through catalogues and web sites to get ideas and inspiration.